Rating: 4 stars
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course, that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
Uprooted is one of many stories that reminds me of why I love reading fantasy so much. The amount of fantasy in this story was beautifully written, hooked me from the first page to the last. It was like I could feel the magic being told in this story all around me as I read, and I loved every minute of it. As someone who loves reading fantasy, this book took me on a magical journey that I never wanted to see the end of.
The story building Naomi Novik does to bring this world to life is very well done. You get a wonderful glimpse of the world Agnieszka grows up in and see how the dangerous Wood plays a pivotal role in events that shape up parts of her life. At first, you don’t understand why the Dragon chooses a new girl every ten years to live in his tower until you get further into the story and learn more about him as a character. I found learning about all these intricate details to create the world these characters live in fascinating and wanted to see more of this world with each page I turned. Her writing is very powerful because it sucks you as the reader into the story she’s telling and makes you want to go on this adventure, into this world along with them.
While the world and story in Uprooted really sucked me in because it was interesting and very magical, I do have some criticisms with this story too. For starters, it took me a little while to like the characters in the story Novik introduces the reader to and the decisions they made. This was especially true to me for the protagonist Agineszka because she made some very irrational decisions in the story because people she loved were in danger. While I could relate to her character overall because she somewhat reminds me of myself, there were moments I didn’t like her due to the decisions she made without thinking of the consequences her choices would cause. Not to say I didn’t understand why she made these choices, but I sometimes thought she needed to put in some more thought to the decisions she made and how her choices would impact the lives of others.
I also wasn’t particularly fond of the romance Novik set up between two of the characters in the story. I honestly felt like it wasn’t necessary because it just didn’t make sense for these two people to be romantically involved with each other. They weren’t well suited for each other and it wasn’t something I was interested in seeing whenever I was reading this book. It just didn’t feel like it belonged in the story, so I was disappointed when I saw this romance occur between the two of them.
However, I really enjoyed reading this book because the world and the magical fantasy within its pages captivated my attention. This book reminds me so much of why I love reading fantasy books so much and I can’t wait to read Spinning Silver, even though it’s not a sequel but sounds like its very similar to Uprooted. I recommend this story to fantasy lovers like me and anyone who wants to read a story set in a wonderfully detailed world that’ll take you on a journey unlike any other. This book had a story that captivated my heart and that I know in the years to come I’ll be reading again.